“Onsite SEO: Building A Solid Foundation For Your Website

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In this webinar, attendees will hear from Jason Hendricks, SEO and Link Acquisition Specialist, and James Constable, Link Strategy Specialist, of Vertical Measures as they share some of the mistakes and secrets they have uncovered first hand.

To rank well for your targeted keywords, you not only need a good backlink portfolio, but you also need to have your website set up correct. Find out if your website is breaking some of the golden rules of SEO, and how you can fix it to improve your rankings in a few easy steps.

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  • Onsite SEO provides a solid foundation for your website and allows you to build upon, as well as properly maximize, all other aspects of your marketing efforts. Without proper onsite optimization, the link worthy content that you create won’t gain as much exposure nor will the links gained to your website provide the higher rankings your site deserves. In essence if you don’t get your onsite efforts right, the rest of your house will crumble!
  • A title tag tells both users and search engines what the topic of a particular page is. The <title> and <meta> tags should be placed within the <head> tag of the HTML document. Ideally, you should create unique titles, meta keywords, and meta descriptions for each page on your site.If your document appears in a search results page, the contents of the title tag will usually appear in the first line of the results. Words in the title are bolded if they appear in the user's search query. This can help users recognize if the page is likely to be relevant to their search. The title should include your most important keywords first, followed by your business or company name.Keyword meta tags are largely ignored by search engines, so we won’t cover them here.A page's description meta tag gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about. While a page's title may be a few words or a phrase, a page's description meta tag might be a sentence or two or a short paragraph. Google Webmaster Tools provides a handy content analysis section that'll tell you about any description meta tags that are either too short, long, or duplicated too many times. Like the <title> tag, the description meta tag is placed within the <head> tag of your HTML document.Description meta tags are important because search engines might use them as snippets for your pages. Note that we say "might" because Google may choose to use a relevant section of your page's visible text if it does a good job of matching up with a user's specific query. Adding description meta tags to each of your pages is always a good practice in case search engines cannot find a good selection of text to use in the snippet.
  • Creating descriptive categories and filenames for the documents on your website can not only help you keep your site better organized, but it could also lead to better crawling of your documents by search engines. Also, it can create easier-to-use, "friendlier" URLs for those that want to link to your content. Visitors may be intimidated by extremely long and cryptic URLs that contain few recognizable words.A site's URL structure should be as simple as possible. You want to consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans (when possible, readable words rather than long ID numbers).Some users might link to your page using the URL of that page as the anchor text. If your URL contains relevant words, this provides users and search engines with more information about thepage than an ID or oddly named parameter would.And the last thing to remember is that the URL to a document is displayed as part of a search result just below the document's title and snippet. Like the title and snippet, words in the URL on the search result appear in bold if they appear in the user's query.Most search engines are good at crawling all types of URL structures, even if they're quite complex, but spending the time to make your URLs as simple as possible for both users and search engines can help. Some webmasters try to achieve this by rewriting their dynamic URLs to static ones. We'd like to note that this is an advanced procedure and if done incorrectly, could cause crawling issues with your site.
  • My apologies for the image here, but we’re not graphic designers.The navigation of a website is important in helping visitors quickly find the content they want. It can also help search engines understand what content the webmaster thinks is important. Although search results are provided at a page level, search engines also like to have a sense of what role a page plays in the bigger picture of the site.All sites have a home or "root" page, which is usually the most frequented page on the site and the starting place of navigation for many visitors. Unless your site has only a handful of pages, you should think about how visitors will go from a general page (for example your root page) to a page containing more specific content.A sitemap is a simple page on your site that displays the structure of your website, and usually consists of a listing of the pages on your site. Visitors may visit this page if they are having problems finding pages on your site. While search engines will also visit this page and get good crawl coverage of the pages on your site, it's mainly aimed at human visitors.An XML Sitemap file makes it easier for search engines to discover the pages on your site. Using a Sitemap file is also one way (though not guaranteed) to tell search engines which version of a URL you'd prefer as the canonical one. URL canonicalization will be covered in detail later in this presentation, so I won’t get into that yet.
  • Heading tags (not to be confused with the <head> HTML tag or HTTP headers) are used to present structure on the page to users. There are six sizes of heading tags, beginning with <h1>, the most important, and ending with <h6>, the least important.Since heading tags typically make text contained in them larger than normal text on the page, this is a visual cue to users that this text is important and could help them understand something about the type of content underneath the heading text. Multiple heading sizes are used in order create a hierarchical structure for your content, making it easier for users to navigate through your document.
  • Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site's reputation with both users and search engines, and it rarely comes without quality content.relevant language - think about the words that a user might search for to find a piece of your content
  • A "robots.txt" file tells search engines whether they can access and therefore crawl parts of your site. This file, which must be named "robots.txt", is placed in the root directory of your site.You may not want certain pages of your site crawled because they might not be useful to users if found in a search engine's search results. If you want to prevent search engines from crawling your pages, Google Webmaster Tools has a friendly robots.txt generator to help you create this file.Note that if your site uses subdomains and you wish to have certain pages not crawled on a particular subdomain, you'll have to create a separate robots.txt file for that subdomain.There are a handful of other ways to prevent content appearing in search results, such as adding "NOINDEX" to your robots meta tag, using .htaccess to password protect directories, and using Google Webmaster Tools to remove content that has already been crawled.
  • “Onsite SEO: Building A Solid Foundation For Your Website

    1. 1. Onsite SEO: Building A Strong Foundation For Your Website<br />Presented by <br />Jason Hendricks(@JasonHendricks)<br />&<br />James Constable (@james_constable)<br />@VerticalMeasure<br />#VMwebinar<br />
    2. 2. Who is this Webinar for?<br />Web Developers<br />Web Designers<br />Content Developers<br />Website Owners<br />Marketing Managers<br />E-commerce Managers<br />Business Consultants<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    3. 3. What are we going to cover?<br />Title and Meta Tags (keywords, description)<br />Site Architecture and URL Structure<br />Heading Tags (H1-H6) and Page Content<br />Canonicalization and Duplicate Content<br />Optimizing Images and Using Robots.txt<br />404 Error Pages and 301/302 Redirects<br />Best Practices and Tips for Webmasters<br />Tools that we use for Onsite SEO Analysis <br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    4. 4. Why is Onsite SEO so important?<br />Link Building<br />Page Content<br />Onsite SEO<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    5. 5. Let’s Start With The Basics…<br />Title Tags – Contain most important keywords first, no more than 70 characters<br />Meta Keywords – unique and targeted specifically to each page, 268 character limit <br />Meta Description – unique, written to inspire clicks, no more than 157 characters in length<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    6. 6. Best Practices and Tips<br />Title Tags<br />Good:<br />Describe the Page Content. Unique.<br />Brief, but Include Keywords<br />Bad:<br />Generic for every page<br />Too Long – 65 Characters<br />No keywords or Keyword Stuffing<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    7. 7. Best Practices and Tips<br />Meta Description<br />Good:<br />Accurate Summary of Page<br />Unique<br />Keywords – bold, attract clicks<br />Bad:<br />Unrelated or Generic<br />Keyword stuffing – low click through rate<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    8. 8. URL Structure<br />Poorly structured URLs make it difficult for search engines to identify the topic of a page and can cause crawling issues, for example:<br /> http://www.example.com/index.php?id_sezione=360&sid=3a5ebc944f41daa6f849f730f1<br />Well structured, search engine friendly URLs are easily indexed, contain keywords to help search engines identify topical relevance, and are easy to link to:http://www.example.com/green-dress.php<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    9. 9. Best Practices and Tips<br />URL Structure<br />Good:<br />Keywords in URL<br />Simple Directory Structure<br />Content in correct areas of site<br />Bad:<br />Lengthy URLs – Many Subdirectories<br />Generic page and folder names<br />Parameters and Session IDs<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    10. 10. Site Architecture<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    11. 11. Best Practices and Tips<br />Site Architecture<br />Good:<br />Naturally Flowing Navigation Hierarchy<br />Text based – Internal Linking<br />HTML and XML Sitemaps<br />Bad:<br />Complexity - too many internal links<br />Overly Narrow – many subdirectories<br />Broken Links<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    12. 12. Heading Tags<br /><ul><li>Not <head>
    13. 13. H1 to H6 in decreasing importance
    14. 14. Use as if you were writing a Word document
    15. 15. Use Sparingly;
    16. 16. Use Keywords
    17. 17. Check coding in CSS</li></ul>Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    18. 18. Best Practices and Tips<br />Heading Tags<br />Good:<br />Document structure outline<br />Use sparingly<br />Include Keywords<br />Bad:<br />Not used to define page structure<br />Used to style text<br />Excessive use – multiple h1s<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    19. 19. Page Content <br /><ul><li>Indexable Content – at least 500 words
    20. 20. Not all in images or flash
    21. 21. Can be below the fold to help conversions
    22. 22. Use of keywords – 2 or 3 times each
    23. 23. Find
    24. 24. Natural usage – human visitors come first
    25. 25. Internal linking – Anchor text</li></ul>Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    26. 26. Best Practices and Tips<br />Page Content<br />Good:<br />Indexable, written content<br />Keywords – users language<br />Fresh and Unique – for Visitors!<br />Bad:<br />Written just for search engines<br />Just images, flash etc<br />Keyword stuffing and no keywords<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    27. 27. Canonicalization<br />Duplicate Content / Pagination<br />Only one version crawled<br />Direct crawler to correct page<br />E-Commerce – pagination, ‘View All’ many ways to reach one page, <br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    28. 28. Best Practices and Tips<br />Canonicalization<br />Good:<br />Pagination and duplicate content<br />One cached version of each<br />Refer crawler to correct page<br />Bad:<br />Pointing to same page<br />Pointing to higher level pages<br />Not used with duplicate content<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    29. 29. Duplicate Content<br />Over 80% of the same content on a page<br />Locations<br />Products<br />Pagination (Canonicalization)<br />Only one version will return in SERPs<br />www and non-www.<br />Subdomains and Subdirectories<br />Homepage and index.html (or default, .php,.asp)<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    30. 30. Optimizing Images<br />Search engines cant ‘see’ Images<br />Alt Tags<br />File Name<br />File Size – load quickly<br />Optimizing for Google Images<br />E-Commerce<br />Surrounding Text<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    31. 31. Best Practices and Tips<br />Optimizing Images<br />Good:<br />Alt Tags whenever used<br />Descriptive filenames<br />Small File Size<br />Bad:<br />Missing Alt tags<br />Generic File Names<br />Long or keyword stuffing<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    32. 32. Using Robots.txt<br />Blocks Crawlers from Accessing pages<br />Hide content from being returned in SERPs<br />Member Pages<br />Site search result pages<br />Admin<br />Don’t block content you want to rank<br />Separate robots.txt for each subdomain<br />Alternatives;<br />.htaccess – password protect<br />NoIndex<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    33. 33. Best Practices and Tips<br />Robots.txt<br />Good:<br />Block crawlers to index you don’t want in SERPs<br />Use more secure methods<br />Bad:<br />Insufficient use<br />Over use – blocking pages you want in SERPs<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    34. 34. 301, 302 and 404s<br />302 redirects for temporary page redirects<br />301 if the page has moved<br />Broken Links – Reclaim link juice<br />User Experience – first impressions<br />404s are inevitable<br />Find out where they are coming from<br />Custom 404 Page – match website design<br />Pages they might be looking for<br />Search box<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    35. 35. Best Practices and Tips<br />301, 302 and 404s<br />Good:<br />302s only when temporary<br />301s for link juice and UX<br />Custom 404s<br />Bad:<br />Only using 302s<br />Generic 404 pages - Deadend<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    36. 36. Onsite SEO Tools<br />Site Audits<br />SEO X-Ray – SEO For Firefox<br />Page Title and Description<br />Heading Tags<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    37. 37. Onsite SEO Tools<br />SEO Browser<br />http://www.seo-browser.com/ <br />What can a crawler actually ‘see’ <br />Flash<br />Image Alt tags<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    38. 38. Onsite SEO Tools<br />Web Development<br />Firebug – Inspect Element<br />Wrapped in Flash code?<br />Crawlers able to see text/links<br />Web Developer Toolbar – Firefox<br />Display Image Alt Tags<br />LOTS of other non-SEO uses<br />Twitter:@JasonHendricks @james_constable @VerticalMeasure#VMWebinar<br />
    39. 39. Q & A<br />For more webinars (including this one soon), check out:<br />http://www.verticalmeasures.com/webinars/<br />

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